U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Communities Local Energy Action Program (LEAP) Pilot
In March 2022, the City of Richmond applied for and was awarded the United States Department of Energy Communities Local Energy Action Program (LEAP) Pilot to receive supportive services valued at up to $16M for community driven clean energy transitions. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected the City of Richmond as one of 24 participants in its first-ever Communities Local Energy Action Program (Communities LEAP). The program aims to facilitate sustained community-wide economic and environmental benefits primarily through DOE’s clean energy deployment work and is specifically open to low-income, energy-burdened communities that are also experiencing either direct environmental justice impacts, or direct economic impacts from a shift away from historical reliance on fossil fuels.
Under this pilot program, the City will develop a Richmond Equitable Existing Buildings Electrification Plan (REEBEP) in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) technical assistance provider.
Sustainability Specialist- CivicSpark Fellow
City of Richmond
City of Richmond
Project Timeline & Vision
Over an 18-month period beginning in July 2022, NREL will conduct a city-wide building and energy use analysis, and develop and assess the feasibility and impact of various approaches to electrifying all existing buildings within the city limits. The original assessment will consider all publicly and privately owned and operated buildings (residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional), and NREL will work with the City and the Richmond Community Foundation (RCF Connects) to develop more targeted implementation scenarios for consideration by Richmond’s City Council. The final Report deliverable will include an implementation framework and resources to help Richmond equitably transition its existing building stock from reliance on natural gas to clean electricity.
Specific outcomes and areas for research and analysis may include:
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from HVAC systems, appliances, and machinery used in all Richmond’s existing buildings
- Reduction in energy use in all existing buildings
- Reduction in energy burden for low and moderate-income households
- Improvement in buildings-related health and safety outcomes for all Richmond residents and workers
- Stimulation of demand for local workers in buildings energy efficiency and clean energy jobs
- Education of community members (residents, businesses, workers and the City) about research described above, as well as true costs, benefits, opportunities, and processes involved in building electrification
The Richmond Equitable Existing Building Electrification Plan (REEBEP) aligns with:
- Richmond’s existing efforts including the 2021 natural gas ban for new developments
- The 2016 Climate Action Plan
- The Richmond General Plan 2030
- The Health in All Policies Ordinance
The project will also complement and coordinate with efforts being undertaken concurrently through the City’s Green Blue New Deal (GBND).
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is leading the implementation of the Communities LEAP program. Communities LEAP is supported by six DOE offices: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, Electricity, Indian Energy, Policy, and Economic Impact and Diversity. For more information visit, https://www.energy.gov/communitiesLEAP/communities-leap.